Very Delicious Vegetarian Eating

Credit…Christopher Simpson for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

If you’re a frequent reader of this newsletter (hi, Mom), you’re familiar with the name Hetty Lui McKinnon. I talk about Hetty’s recipes a lot — they’re delicious, of course, but also consistently satisfying, delivering a lot of wow and oomph (technical terms).

Hetty, along with Alice Callahan, a Times reporter who covers health and nutrition, have shared everything you might want to know about vegetarian eating in a special collaboration with Well. “We tend to cook and eat what we know, but giving up meat doesn’t mean leaving behind your favorite flavors,” they write. “If you enjoy the vibrant flavors of larb, make it with mushrooms or tofu, just as you can create an adobo with either eggplant or cauliflower, riff on Indian butter chicken by using chickpeas, and satisfy your schnitzel or breaded cutlet craving with halloumi or tofu. Change takes time, but it is much easier if you lean on familiar flavors and dishes.”

Speaking of familiar dishes, if you haven’t already made Hetty’s cold noodle salad with spicy peanut sauce, now — specifically this long weekend — is the time. The soba noodles and peanut-butter-based sauce provide a savory, nutty foundation for the crisp vegetables (a mix of zucchini, radishes and bell peppers) and the garlicky, limey peanut sauce can be as spicy as you’d like. I use chile crisp instead of chile oil to add extra tingly crunch; I’ve also subbed tahini for the peanut butter, and I can’t tell which version I like better. In other words: Make these noodles and make them yours.

Featured Recipe

Cold Noodle Salad With Spicy Peanut Sauce

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These cumin green beans and mushrooms are a new Hetty recipe, and I already know it’ll be on repeat in my home. I love the bright and earthy note that cumin adds to everything (see: Hetty’s vegetarian take on the signature lamb dish at Xi’an Famous Foods); combining it with spicy ginger, sweet green beans and umami-rich mushrooms feels like a no-brainer. Will I add a fried egg on top if I’m feeling ravenous, breaking the yolk so that the yellow goodness mingles with the already gold-stained cumin mix? I will indeed.

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